Friday, October 30, 2015

Editorial - BLM poser should be fired for online comments

The Bureau of Land Management has identified an employee who used a government computer to impersonate a former coworker and post comments on an article on about the arson convictions of two Oregon ranchers.

It’s not saying who did it, or what disciplinary action is being taken. While that’s understandable as a personnel issue, what isn’t understandable is the BLM’s seeming lack of regret and indignation.

Greg Allum, an Eastern Oregon resident once employed by BLM, recently informed Capital Press that his name was used to post comments on an article about Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father and son who were recently sentenced to five years in prison for setting fires on BLM property near Diamond, Ore.

The comments referred to the Hammonds as “clowns” and defended the actions of BLM in pursuing criminal charges against them.

...Michael Campbell, a public information officer for BLM, said the employee’s actions violated the BLM’s “robust social media policy,” under which only authorized officials can represent the agency on social media sites.

Not quite. The employee didn’t represent himself (or herself) as the BLM on our site. The employee instead assumed Allum’s identity and surreptitiously vented against the Hammonds and readers who made comments supporting them. All on government time, using government equipment.

It would seem the purpose of the posts was as much to embarrass Allum as vilify supporters.
Whether BLM appreciates it or not, the employee diminished the agency in the eyes local farmers and ranchers and bolstered a popular perception that government workers have too much time on their hands.

Allum deserves an apology, and the responsible employee needs to be shown the door.

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